(Tel Aviv) Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres took a shot at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today, saying that "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map."
The comment was a reference to a similar statement made by Ahmadinejad that has been translated by some as a direct threat to obliterate Israel. Other scholars, such as Juan Cole, believe that a more correct translation would be something along the lines of "the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time."
Peres blasted the Iranian government for its position on its uranium enrighment program and its hard-line stance.
"Tehran is making a mockery of the international community's efforts to solve the crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear program," said Peres. "Iran presents a danger to the entire world, not just to us."
The timing of the remarks by Peres is puzzling, as it comes on the day that an Iranian official announced that Ahmadinejad had written to US President George W. Bush in an attempt to reduce tensions between the two countries.
Peres warned that a nuclear arms race will escalate if Iran produces nuclear weapons.
"If Iran becomes nuclear many other countries will follow suit," he said. "Whoever will have a conflict will produce a bomb, and finally some bombs will reach the hands of terror."
Peres, however, did not mention his own country's clandestine nuclear program, nor of its own refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. By some estimates Israel may have as many as 100 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.